Leo Q & A

ERG Spotlight: WomanKind

This Women’s Equality Day, WomanKind shares how they empower women through advocacy and cultivate a more inclusive community.

In this ever-changing society, Leo Burnett’s WomanKind ERG has taken numerous steps to evolve and support the women within its walls. This year is no different, and for Women’s Equality Day the group is excited to share how they observe cultural moments and their plans for the rest of 2022 and beyond. 

WomanKind members shared how this inclusive community reflects Leo Burnett’s continuous efforts to promote diversity and inclusion within the workplace.   

Can you share a little background about the WomanKind ERG?  

WomanKind was formed in 2010 and was formerly named Women’s Leadership Network.  In 2017, we rebranded as WomanKind. Our mission is to create a culture where everyone has an opportunity to learn, grow and lead. No two women are the same, but we believe all women could use an advocate. Regardless of your department or title, we want your voice to be heard during every stage of your career. WomanKind is here to create connections, bring awareness to issues, amplify one another’s voices, and represent our values outside of the agency walls.  

We exist to inspire, empower and advocate for ALL women – at work and beyond.  

Our current goals are to cultivate an inclusive community and increase awareness and support of issues affecting a broader spectrum of women.  

Women’s Equality Day commemorates women’s suffrage and the passing of the 19th Amendment in 1920. How is WomanKind observing this cultural moment? Do you have any advice on how workplaces can celebrate and honor Women’s Equality Day in the office?   

While we don’t typically have programming around Women’s Equality Day, we have provided our members with education on the equality and suffrage movements. For instance, we think it’s important to acknowledge that not all women were given the right to vote with the 19th amendment. Black women, who first led the suffrage movement, were not granted that right for themselves until 1965.  

So being informed and educated about the day’s history is the first step, then we try to focus on what we can do today, like encouraging our members to exercise their right to vote and providing education around issues like voter intimidation. 

In terms of equality and equity, what kind of programming and/or support does WomanKind offer to help employees advocate for themselves and create long-lasting change in the workplace?  

WomanKind is focused on providing education, supporting charities, and helping connect women with the resources available to them.   

We host a handful of events throughout the year in service of these efforts, varying both our content and the way that content is delivered to reach a diverse audience

  • Our signature series, Coffee & Convos, is a more intimate, informal setting and a safe place for sometimes sensitive topics 
  • We recently launched Womanpower sessions, which expand our connections through small, virtual conversations led by guest speakers on topics like authenticity, resilience, and leadership 
  • Our partner events with organizations like She Runs It are larger and focus on education and networking 
  • Other events we host throughout the year support local women’s charities and celebrate occasions such as International Women’s Day 

No matter the format, each event is designed to empower, inspire, support and/or connect.  

Understanding the importance of allyship, how has male involvement in the group supported WomanKind?  

We continue to increase the diversity of our board, our members and our programming across race/ethnicity, gender identity, age, diversity of thought and professional experience. We currently have a male board member and have seen increased attendance from male allies at our recent events. 

We are regularly advocating and communicating with our fellow ERGs, including male allies, on big topics. Promoting gender equality is embedded in all that we do – across our content at events and through our social channels. Year over year, there is a lot of interest in big issues like pay equality.  

We hosted a Coffee & Convos on this very topic so people could freely discuss, offer tips and support one another’s emotions. We’ve also hosted financial workshops, provided free tickets to our members for She Runs It’s The Art of Negotiation event and plan to continue addressing this topic with the support of our male allies.  

Can you share more of WomanKind’s plans for the end of 2022 and beyond?  

Our focus for 2022 and beyond is to really lean into our connections through intimate Coffee & Convos and Womanpower sessions. These events allow our community to access leaders at all levels, be inspired and share in intimate and candid Q&As that we can all learn from. It’s also a chance to hear the missteps and the challenges behind the success stories.  

Beyond that, we’ll continue to grow and nurture our community while supporting issues important to all women. 

Thank you to the WomanKind leaders who shared on Women’s Equality Day: Kerri Soukup, Colleen Capola, Monica Stahl, Julie Glick, and Heather Robertson.